Introduction by Chris Kornman
This is our second Crown Jewel selection this season from the family estate in Ethiopia’s remote southern growing regions that continues to impress and upend our expectations.
The Hambela region spans across the SNNP and Oromia regional border, and is home to a namesake estate, washing stations, and collection points owned and operated by METAD Agricultural Development PLC. The family-run company was gifted property by Emperor Selassie in honor of the matriarch, Muluemebet Emiru, the first African female pilot. METAD is now managed by her grandson Aman Adinew, and its export partner Rift Valley Trading LLC is operated by his brother Michael Adinew. Among the many important pieces of work undertaken by METAD are their commitment to equal employment opportunities for women and education opportunities for the youth of the coffeelands, their early partnerships with Grounds for Health, and their development of Africa’s first SCAA certified lab.
In the field, not only have they established their own harvesting sites, but they have partnered with smallholder associations. They don’t simply buy the coffee cherry from the local farmers, but they provide them with pre- and post-harvest trainings. These trainings include agriculture and business management help, with the intention of reaching beyond simply getting better coffee to create better, mores sustainable communities.
This natural dry Bishan Fugu is selected from one such smallholder association. Natural or dry-process, fruit-dried or cherry-dried – however you prefer to talk about this style of ‘zero-process’ coffee post-harvest production, it all comes back to Ethiopia. While farmers across the globe still practice this method of letting the coffee fruit dry like raisins around the seed, it all started in Ethiopia. It’s still common to see smallholder farmers drying their daily harvest on their porches or lawns across the country. Unlike much of the rest of the world, many of these farmers will then roast and grind their own harvest – Ethiopia is the world’s only coffee producing country whose volume of consumption equals its export.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Inasmuch as green coffee from Ethiopia runs smaller, drier, and denser than normal… well then this Bishan Fugu natural is a conformist. Low moisture content and water activity accompany a classic screen size distribution and expected high density from this Southern Ethiopian offering. Like all Ethiopian coffees, this lot was assigned an export grade. In this case, the Bishan Fugu’s Grade 1 demarcation indicates that it received the highest available rating prior to shipping.
Drier-than-usual coffee from Ethiopia is the norm this season, and could very likely be climate related. Ethiopian highlands are emerging from the midst of a significant drought that began in 2015, compounded by an unusual frost this past winter in some microclimates. Droughts are becoming more severe and more frequent in Africa’s horn. Compound this with political unrest that damaged or destroyed a number of coffee washing stations last year in Southern Ethiopia, and there’s a real possibility we might never see more and better coffee from these regions than we do now.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
Ethiopia natural coffees are some of the most interesting to roast with the most incredible opportunity to explore flavor development. Simple adjustments to the profile can give you very different results. In roast one, there was a slightly longer drying stage and I noticed that this coffee wanted to race just after first crack. In my second roast I decided to lengthen the time during the Maillard reaction and the time during post crack development time. This gave me a longer overall roast and pulled some very interesting flavors out of the coffee into the cup. On the cupping table, roast one had very big berry flavors with a touch of floral bitterness. Roast two, had more of a cornucopia of fruit flavors ranging from tropical dried fruits to concord grape juice.
Roast one: Blackberry, raspberry, juniper, heavy
Roast two: Concord grape, mango, candied papaya, cacao nib
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
After my previous weeks experimenting with fruit-dried African coffees, this tasty Ethiopian selection was a breeze to roast. I engaged P4 only 15 seconds after first crack, and allowed the coffee to develop for a little over one minute before stopping the roast. The result was 11.6% roast loss percentage.
If I were to change anything about this roast, I might have left the heat on full power for just a touch longer, or shot for 1:20 development time. There were plenty of fruit notes to be had in this coffee, but my roast seemed like it would have fared better with just a little more development. I didn’t experience as much racing as Jen after first crack, perhaps due to the Behmor having a bit less potential velocity than the Probatino with its super-powered high BTU burners.
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
A classic fruit dried coffee in any regard, the Bishan Fugu fulfilled all expectations as a drip coffee. All our notes were of the comforting variety, and had us reminiscing of warm times in cold winter months. Have you ever been into a kitchen where someone is cooking mulled wine? Or a pancake house where the berry flavored syrup is flowing freely? Drinking this coffee would fit right in with either of those situations.
Roast 1 displayed more of the dried figgy fruit and baking spice notes you might find in a mulled wine. All things being equal, this roast had a slightly higher solubility, and a higher final extraction percentage of 21.35%.
Roast 2 had all the viscous sweetness, but with less of the spice notes. This was counterintuitive for me, as I believed the roast with the higher extraction percentage would have a more syrupy body. However, this was the roast that got the note ‘berry flavored pancake syrup at the Chesapeake, VA IHOP circa 2002.’ Honestly, other than the location, this was quite relatable.
This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.